June 18, 2003
This flabbergasts me--the Europeans want to impose a "right to reply" on virtually all forms of media. From Declan McCullagh's column:
The Council of Europe--an influential quasi-governmental body that drafts conventions and treaties--is meeting on Monday to finalize a proposal that veers in exactly the opposite direction. (It boasts 45 member states in Europe, with the United States, Canada, Japan and Mexico participating as non-voting members. Its budget is about $200 million a year, paid for by member governments.)
The all-but-final proposal draft says that Internet news organizations, individual Web sites, moderated mailing lists and even Web logs (or "blogs"), must offer a "right of reply" to those who have been criticized by a person or organization.
Not only do the Europeans not "get" the Internet, they don't "get" individual liberty. Does this mean that if I say something disparaging against Saddam Hussein that the onus is on me to prove that someone claiming to be Saddam Hussein and demanding a right to reply is in fact not who he says he is? If this were law in America I suppose the NAACP be forced to publish David Duke's views on their web site if they said somehting disparaging about the former KKK leader. Imagine having the state dictate who you should allow to pontificate on your own blog!
You can read the proposal in all of its absurdity here. It was a European, Winston Churchill, who said it best: "There are always some people around who are content to remain neutral as between the fire brigade and the fire."